A Time of Preparation!

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ADVENT 2015

It’s Advent! A time of preparation,

of expectation, of hope!

It’s time to make that Christmas list,

choose gifts for family, relatives,

friends and those in need.

But more important than the wrapped gifts

to prepare is to prepare ourselves.

What do we want Jesus to see

in ourselves for his birthday?

What could be the best gift

that we can offer to Jesus?

Jesus does not need

our material things.

What He needs are:

patience, humility, forgiveness,

kindness, justice, respect,

service, care and love for others

especially to our own family and community.

WE wish you the graces and inspiration of Advent!

A blessed Advent to one and all!

Star del Mar

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CLFC Celebrates Star’s Birthday!

Happy Birthday

Star del Mar

(10/20/15)

Star birthday

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Seminar-Workshop on Creative Ways of Teaching the Bible to Children

 CREATIVE WAYS OF TEACHING THE BIBLE TO CHILDREN

INSPIRATION AND IMAGINATION

The Cebu Lay Formation Center (CLFC), owned by the Archdiocese of Cebu, located at Talamban, Cebu City, is offering a seminar-workshop on CREATIVE WAYS OF TEACHING THE BIBLE TO CHILDREN using the book INSPIRATION AND IMAGINATION written by Charles Javier, on September 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM until September 26, 2015 at 3:00 PM.

Mr. Charles Javier

Mr. Charles Javier

This will be given by Mr. Charles Javier from Abra, a retired Teacher and Principal. He has given this workshop in many schools in the Philippines, mostly in the north and in other countries as well. At present, he is the Diocesan Biblical Coordinator of the Diocese of Bangued, Abra.

He will teach the participants on different ways of teaching the Bible that the Teacher and Pupils will enjoy while learning. The seminar includes a hands-on workshop of preparing the materials to be used by the Teacher. He has also prepared ready-made materials that he will share with the Participants. Some materials he will still make when we will know how many are participating.

This seminar-workshop is especially helpful to Catechists and Teachers who are teaching the Bible to kindergarten, primary and elementary students. This is a stay-in workshop to be held at CLFC, Talamban, Cebu City. CLFC is located at the back of San Isidro Labrador Parish Church (follow the dirt road going to the cell-site tower that ends at our green gate).

The registration fee is Php 1,800.00/person that includes board & lodging and the book Inspiration and Imagination. The things and materials that the participant needs to take along to the seminar-workshop are printed on the second page. Kindly give this to your prospective participants.

The number of participants is limited due to the limitation of working space. So this will be on a first-come-first-served basis. Please email us at clfc.talamban@gmail.com for further inquiries and reservation. You may also call us at 344-0170, 416-0089, 5116471 (my mobile landline) or text me at 0906-358-6054. Thank you very much.

Kindly let me know on or before Sept.14, 2015, so we will know how many are participating since some materials are still to be made for them. Thank you and God bless.

Sincerely yours,

Estrella (Star) del Mar

CLFC Director

WHAT TO BRING ALONG FOR THE SEMINAR-WORKSHOP:

Aside from personal clothes, towel and toiletries for the stay-in course, each participant is required to bring the following materials for the workshop:

  1. Bond papers
  2. 1-5 colored papers
  3. Pencil
  4. Small glue
  5. Sharp Scissors
  6. Wagwagan colored cloth (from ukay ukay), some with stripes, with small prints only.
  7. Wagwagan wool knitted sweater to be used as hair (brown color or lighter). Knits should be easily pulled out to become curly hairs for the puppets.
  8. At least one whole used newspaper with colored pages
  9. At least one to two meters string
  10. one ball for children – diameter – 17 centimeters or circumference – 57.5 centimeters
  11. Two red crepe papers
  12. One used long folder.

 ACTIVITIES OF THE SEMINAR-WORKSHOP

  1. Bible Enthronement
  2. Explanation of the various activities contained in the book: Inspiration and Imagination
  3. Presentation of models of the visual aids given in the book.
  4. Creation of visual aids: art work, newspaper figurines, hand puppets, etc.
  5. Biblical Reflection for Teachers
  6. Biblical songs and games, etc.

 Registration Fee – Php 1,800.00 per participant that includes board & lodging and the book: Inspiration and Imagination

NEW BEGINNINGS OF THE CATHOLIC BIBLICAL FEDERATION

NEW BEGINNINGS OF THE

CATHOLIC BIBLICAL FEDERATION

By Estrella (Star) del Mar

20150619_114938The 9th Plenary Assembly of the Catholic Biblical Federation was held at Ad Gentes Missionari Verbiti at Nemi on June 18-23, 2015 with the theme: HOLY SCRIPTURE, SOURCE OF EVANGELIZATION. Many thanks to our new General Secretary, Fr. Jan Stefanów, SVD, for having arranged and organized everything, that made these five days an enriching and fruitful experience of the Word in its global dimension.

A Lectio Divina guide was prepared that focused on the four aspects of relationship on Word and Mission from the perspective of a “Church which goes forth.” We had Lectio Divina in small groups according to language groups and a mixture of Bishops, Priests, Religious and Lay. This was done every morning before breakfast. The Lectio Divina sharing was so enriching, inspiring and challenging as well.

The Eucharistic Celebrations, prepared by regional groups, were celebrated in the evenings except for the Sunday mass that was held in the morning with the Region of Asia preparing the Liturgy. The Sunday mass was presided by the Bishop from India and the homilist was Bishop Ambo David, DD of the Philippines. His homily is also published in the CBF-SEA website.

Bishop Ambo was inspired by the Sunday readings especially the Gospel and made a good summary of the CBF journey especially the hard and painful times. Now, we do not talk about it. We need to learn from it and move on for a new start, for our new beginnings. He proposed three steps:

  • Learn to leave the crowd every now and then.
  • Quiet, be still!
  • Have faith—in the sense of “remember”.

20150621_164955-1The homilies of our new President, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle, DD, from the Philippines reminded us to be humble, forgiving, trusting, caring, and be sensitive to the Spirit to make God’s Kingdom a reality in our world. In his conference, he enumerated several challenges for us to respond to the needs of the times, to do something about the present situation and to proclaim all the more God’s Word in our lives. The Final Statement summarized these challenges there.

We are happy to have a President who leads the way, who guides us with questions and proposals that are concrete enough to show us the directions. Now, we have a lot of tasks to do. The CBF General Secretariat had prepared a blueprint of a 6-year plan of action that is concrete and doable. These were translated into programs and projects by the Regions that could be accomplished in 6 years. A sample curriculum of a 2-year course for a Masters in Biblical Pastoral Ministry was presented to us that we could easily duplicate in our sub-region. A concrete plan (based on the Luxembourg template was already worked out by the Members guided by our new South East Asian sub-regional Coordinator that is ECBA represented by Bishop Ambo David.

CBF PA 2015__DSC5956-2CBF-SEA will have its own Masters’ Program for Biblical-Pastoral Ministry at the SVD School of Theology in Tagaytay City, Philippines – which some of the faculty of the Seminary had already started in the past. We only need to enrich it and invite more CBF Experts to be resource persons. An educational trip to the Holy Land will also be a part of this course. We need to tap the Resource Persons who are already giving courses at the Holy Land. Since some possible participants may not be able to afford a long stay-in course or finish the 2-year program, some shorter modular courses will also be available for them. Bible Translation is given a priority too and need to be given the proper resources for the success of the project. The Catholic Lectionaries could be a joint project of the Bible Scholars and the Liturgy Commission. Since the Bible is to permeate all the pastoral activities of the Church, it is important that our future priests would also get a good training on Biblical Pastoral Ministry and how it is done aside from their Exegesis courses.

Workshops, meetings and communication networks were also planned out and given tentative schedules.

So much had been planned to be worked out and implemented in the next 6 years before the next Plenary Assembly.

The two resource persons: Nuria Calduch-Benages and Maricel Mena López posed challenges in the new way of reading Scriptures highlighting the challenges of Dei Verbum, Verbum Domini and Evangelii Gaudium. Cardinal Tagle put concrete images of the present situation of the world that these new way of reading and interpreting Scriptures would have to be worked out in concrete programs centering on the Word of God. Pope Francis reminded us to look at the lives of the people and their present socio-economic-political situations and make the Word of God speak to them in these present conditions for inspiration, enlightenment and hope.20150621_120436

This is also true to the Catholic Biblical Federation. We cannot continue to dwell on the past that cannot be changed as it had already happened. We had learned our lessons. We move on with wisdom, renewed inspiration and vitality to respond to the challenges of the times in God’s Word. We need to face the present realities guided by the Word which also needs to be read and listened to in a new way.

The Catholic Biblical Federation with its new set of members of the Executive Committee, the Commission groups, the new Coordinators of the regions and sub-regions will move ahead to meet these present challenges to make the Bible, the Holy Scriptures, the Word of God become more and more relevant in the lives of our people. And we begin with ourselves. We need to witness to the people the message of the Word – to build a loving, caring, forgiving, trusting and hoping community.

We pray that our number will grow and communities of the Word will flourish. We dream that people may say to our Federation “See how they love one another!” And we support each other in different ways by sharing whatever we have.

CBF has started the new beginning. Let us rejoice and be glad in the Lord as we thank our great leaders of the past that made CBF grow in number around the world. We are a global community in the Word! How happy we are to stay and share together in these few days and all in God’s Word! Praise be the Lord of love, compassion and mercy!

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Welcome Cardinal Tagle!

Welcome Cardinal Tagle!

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, DD

Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, DD

Are We Ready for Easter?

ARE WE READY FOR EASTER?

By: Estrella (Star) del Mar

0000000starIf Christ has not risen, our faith is meaningless.

I remember my trip to Bombay some years ago where I met a good Doctor who specialized in treating leprosy.  I went with him to a far barangay where he served several lepers in a small clinic as a volunteer Doctor for these poor lepers.  The Doctor has a good heart for service and for the poor.  However, he was bitter with the social situation.  I told him that he was their hope for healing and a fairly normal life in the future.  I told him that he was like Jesus Christ for them.  And he retorted with anger in his voice.  “Jesus Christ?  He was the hope of his people to free them but he died!”  So I told him to continue reading the gospel story when Jesus rose from the dead and lived as He promised.  No one could take Jesus’ life from him.  He freely laid it down.  And he resurrected and continued to be present with us and among us.  Jesus was and is present in this good Doctor.  I knew later that the Doctor was a Hindu and not a Christian!

I realized that the good Doctor ended with the death of Jesus.  No wonder that he stayed bitter with the situation.  He has not experienced Easter.  The resurrection gives us hope.  It is a victory over death!

What about us? Do we stay in our bitterness, our hurts, our disappointments, frustrations and hopelessness?  Then we are not ready for Easter!

The Apostles’ daily company with Jesus seems not to be enough. Their listening to Jesus’ teachings; witnessing Jesus’ healings and even bringing the dead Lazarus and the young man back to life – all these seem not enough for the apostles to understand Jesus’ mission.

Easter is to make a difference in our lives!

We also need to resurrect from our own death to new life!

The Peter before the resurrection was a different Peter after the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The apostles went away afraid during the passion of Jesus Christ.  After the resurrection, they became courageous and zealous in their daily witness to the Lord.  The apostles before the resurrection were very different persons after the resurrection as we can read in the Acts of the Apostles.  There was a dramatic transformation of these people.  Faith, for them, became a profound belief that was tested in their daily witnessing to the Lord’s words and deeds.

Are we ready for our own Easter?

Have we died to our selfishness, self-centeredness, self-righteousness, our own hurts, our own wants, disappointments and failures?  Can we forgive from our hearts those who had hurt us deeply? Can we humble ourselves and accept our own limitations, mistakes and sins of omission? And most of all, can we love as Jesus loved?

Am I ready for a new life in Christ? This is God’s gift to us.  It is my choice and my decision to accept it and do likewise.

May our Mother Mary, whom Jesus gave to us, help us and guide us to be like her as a true disciple of Jesus.

JESUS HAS RISEN!  LET US RISE WITH HIM!

HAPPY EASTER EVERYONE!  CELEBRATE NEW LIFE!

CELEBRATE LOVE & MERCY!

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It’s Lent…

IT’S  LENT …

By Estrella (Star) Cui del Mar

 

Lent 2015February 18 to April 5, 2015 is the season of Lent.  It starts with Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.  Lenten season runs for 40 days but not counting the Sundays since every Sunday is a Resurrection day.  The Church celebrates Lent with similar messages of Advent in a different backdrop – the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Our lives are also a cycle of joys, pains and glorious moments.  We take each moment as sacred and memorable.  We savor and enjoy the joyful moments.  We reflect on the message of each painful moment.  And we are redeemed and brought back to the zest of life at each glorious moment.  Think about those moments in your life and you will find God has always been there with you, accompanying you at each moment whether or not you were conscious of God’s presence.

During Lent, we are reminded to focus on a few important things in our lives:

Lent 2015 b1. God loves us so much “He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” John 3:16 It is good to savor on this love.

Think how many times we had given ourselves to others beyond what are expected without expecting a Thank you or a recognition.  Sacrifices for love and service are often taken for granted.

Think how many times, we take for granted God’s blessings

2. God wants to communicate with us. “In the prayerful reading of Sacred Scriptures, God and man talk together for we speak to him when we pray and we hear him when we read Scriptures.” Vat. II, Divine Revelation No. 25Lent 2015 c

Think of the times we are in prayer.  What is the content of our prayers?  Do we only ask?  How about listening? We tell God what we want.  Do we also listen to what God wants of us?

Lent is a time conducive for intimate union with the Lord – a time just for the Lord – for prayer and contemplation.

3. Our life on earth is temporary. From the time we were born and grown up, we have come to love this world and all that it offers.  Some have enjoyed their wealth and power.  Some have enjoyed a happy family life even with limited material possessions. Some are struggling to get even a day’s meal.  Some have practically nothing –no house, no work, no possessions except children.  Many of them are on the streets.

Rich or poor, life in this world is temporary.  Physical death is inevitable.  It’s a matter of time.  Lent reminds us that we come into this world with nothing and we leave this world with nothing.

Parents are busy working on what to leave to their children.  Some are working for a legacy for the next generation.  Some are busy putting up monuments to remind people they existed.  Some die as martyrs.

Perhaps more important is to ask ourselves:  Is God happy with the life He has gifted me?  What would be the answer to the question:  “how much have you loved unconditionally and served the least of God’s children?”

Lent 2015 d4. Ours is the choice. Good Friday does not end in Jesus’ death.  He resurrected and left in us the power to choose Life over death.  And it is not only to choose Life but to give Life to others as well.

5. Jesus’ Mission continues in each one of us. Jesus left us the Holy Spirit to help us continue the mission of redemption, compassion, healing and sharing God’s love. “I give you a new commandment: Love one another as I have loved you.  It is by your love for one another that everyone will recognize you as my disciples.”  John 13: 34-35

It is easy to say “I love you” and probably not mean it the way God has commanded us to love.  It is easy to love those who love us.  It is more difficult to love those who are giving us pain.  It is not easy to forgive those who are destroying our personhood to others perhaps due to pride and prejudice.  It is not easy to love those who are rejecting us in various ways perhaps because of our limitations to please them.  It is not easy to love those who have negative thoughts and feelings toward others. The litany can go on…  What is clear is that God accepts us all and understands us where we are coming from and not give up on us.  God is willing to die for us each time to save us IF we want to, if we ask Him, if we repent and change.  Ours is always the choice.

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